Chicago suburb spearheads green initiatives

A pilot program in Chicago's northern suburb of Highland Park aims to support environmental sustainability through the launch of a city food waste composting program, set to kick off August 2 and continue through November 29, according to TribLocal Highland Park & Highwood.  Those looking to move to the Chicago area who feel particularly strongly about green initiatives could look at homes for sale in Chicago in Highland Park to satisfy their need for green.

The ambitious program will be run by the city of Highland Park, Veolia Environmental Services (VES) and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, with Orbis Corp and Glad playing a part in the program as well. Orbis Corp is a company that creates packaging and products that are environmentally friendly, while Glad is a well-known producer of food storage containers and trash bags.

Resident participation in the program will be entirely voluntary for inhabitants of Highland Park's northeast neighborhoods. VES will be notifying residents through mail services, sending them information about registration procedures, types of food appropriate for the compost, and a variety of other educational materials about the benefits of composting.

Food collected from participants' curbs will be driven to Waukegan and deposited at Nu-Earth Organics compost pile, established in 2011.

If the pilot program proves successful, it could be rolled out on a city-wide scale. Veolia, Highland Park and SWALCO will work together throughout the course of this green initiative to collect meaningful and accurate data, measuring the total weight of food waste collected and tracking resident participation rates.

Simply choosing to live in Highland Park could prove to be one of the best things a person can do to contribute to a sustainable planet. This city is all about greener living, implementing other green initiatives that include ordinances for construction debris and plastic bag recycling as well as renewable energy certificates.

The EPA says that composting helps the environment and community in a number of ways, including enriching soil, decontaminating soil, halting pollution, and reducing the need for water, pesticides or other fertilizers, which provides an economic benefit to the community.

In addition to Highland Park's green pursuits, residents of this thriving, diverse community just 23 miles north of the city of Chicago enjoy a close relationship with the Earth, as Lake Michigan forms the eastern border of the community. This suburban escape overflows with wild flowers and is peppered with ravines. The City of Highland Park website tells of the town's public flower gardens and the famous Ravinia Festival - an outside venue of the performing arts open during the summer months, with "beautifully landscaped and wooded land," which extends across more than 36 acres.